On February 22, 2021 the U.S. Department of Education (the “Department”) issued guidance regarding schools’ mandatory assessments for the 2020-21 school year, which can be found here. The Department is providing flexibility to states but not canceling the assessments altogether. Some of the flexibility being offered is allowing states to request a waiver for the 2020-21 school year of the accountability and school identification requirements in the ESEA and allowing flexibility in the administration of statewide assessments. The Department emphasized that all state and local report card requirements remain and that there will be increased transparency by requiring all disaggregated chronic absenteeism data and any data collected on student and educated access to technological devices and to high-speed internet at home be publicly reported.
With respect to administering statewide assessments, the U.S. Department of Education provided examples of the flexibility which include administering a shortened version of its statewide assessments, offering remote administration where feasible, or extending the testing window, which could mean offering multiple testing windows or waiting until the summer or beginning of the 2021-22 school year to do the assessment.
Illinois State Superintendent Dr. Ayala previously stated that ISBE will apply for any waiver available and we will update you on any additional guidance to come from ISBE. Dr. Ayala’s prior letter can be found here.